Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court
Litigation News

[Delhi Riots] Delhi HC issues notice in plea to take down sensitive, confidential info leaked by Police to media

The Petitioner before the Court is one Asif Iqbal Tanha, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, who was arrested by the Delhi Police in May 2020.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice in a petition by an accused in the Delhi riots case seeking a direction to media agencies to take down "sensitive" and "confidential" information leaked by the Delhi Police on its investigation in the matter (Asif Iqbal Tanha vs State).

Notice to the State and certain media platforms was issued by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru.

The Petitioner before the Court is Asif Iqbal Tanha, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, who was arrested by the Delhi Police in May 2020.

Earlier this month, media reports emerged on Asif's "disclosure statement" before the Delhi Police. As per the reports, Asif conceded that the riots were a premeditated conspiracy and that former JNU student, Umar Khalid asked Asif to hold a 'chakka jam' in coordination with other members of the Jamia Coordination Committee.

It is the Petitioner's case that the information was leaked by Delhi Police and thus an inquiry ought to be conducted into the misconduct of the official who leaked the information to media platforms such as OpIndia, Zee Media, Facebook and YouTube.

The Petitioner, who appeared through Advocate Siddharth Agarwal, argued that such leaks were prejudicial to a fair trial as they tainted the mind of the judge and public.

Accusing the Delhi Police of malafide intent, the Petitioner has claimed that the leaked information has no evidentiary value.

The Petitioner has also sought guidelines on media reporting of ongoing criminal investigations.

After SPP Rajat Nair sought time to take instructions, the Court adjourned the matter till September 11.

No interim order for removal of the content was passed by the Court.

Last month, while observing that the Delhi riots cases were "undoubtedly sensitive", the High Court had restrained the Police from issuing contentious statements against accused Devangana Kalita, till the stage of framing of charges.

The Court had categorically stated that the Police or any other agency cannot use the media to influence public opinion against an accused while the matter was still being investigated.

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